Foe turned friend? Kamket defies Raila, lauds President-elect Ruto

William Kamket

William Kamket has retained the Tiaty parliamentary seat after bagging 17, 933 votes. He trounced his political arch-rival- former MP Asman Kamama to become the only Azimio One Kenya MP-elect in Baringo County.

Photo credit: File

Tiaty MP-Elect William Kamket (Kanu), a longtime critic and political nemesis of President-elect William Ruto, appears to have ignored Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s stance on Tuesday’s results.

Mr Kamket congratulated Dr Ruto on his controversial win, despite Mr Odinga disputing the presidential election results. On Tuesday, the ODM leader rejected the results announced by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati, vowing to challenge them in court.

The IEBC said the DP won with 7,176,141 votes against Mr Odinga’s 6,942,930.

Retained Kanu seat

Mr Kamket retained his seat, becoming the only Azimio la Umoja One Kenya MP in Baringo County, a region perceived as the stronghold of Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

Kanu leader Gideon Moi lost the Baringo Senate seat, defeated by UDA’s William Cheptumo, who bagged 141,777 votes against the former’s 71,480.

Mr Moi was seeking a third term and came in second, while Felix Chelaite of The Service Party (TSP) garnered 3,261.

The outspoken MP Cheptumo had served three terms as Baringo North MP and is a close ally of Dr Ruto. 

But Kanu put on a sterling show in Tiaty, with Mr Kamket garnering 17,933 votes to trounce his closest political rival and predecessor Asman Kamama of the Kenya Union Party (KUP), who came in second with 13,037 votes.

UDA’s Peter Ng’eleiyo received a paltry 110 votes, while Sammy Lokasa of the Amani National Congress (ANC) garnered 26 and was in last position.

Accept the IEBC verdict

Mr Kamket took to his social media pages to congratulate Dr Ruto, noting that he won the presidency through absolute hard work.

“Congratulations to President-Elect William Samoei Ruto. This election was a marathon. No one can run against a Kalenjin man in a marathon and expect to win. Hard work pays,” said Mr Kamket.

Mr Odinga faulted Mr Chebukati for announcing the winner of the presidential election without involving other commissioners.

But on Tuesday, Mr Kamket said Dr Ruto had won and urged his community to accept the IEBC verdict, effectively dismissing the position taken by Mr Odinga.

“To all Pokot Nation, the President of Kenya is William Ruto. The people have spoken, and I also affirm. We should accept,” added the MP, a sign that he could be shifting his political allegiance to the President-elect.

Sharp Ruto critic

Over the years, Mr Kamket, a close ally of Mr Moi, has been a sharp critic of the DP, which put him at loggerheads with local leaders in Baringo County allied to Dr Ruto.

For instance, in 2018, a war of words erupted at a thanksgiving ceremony in Marigat after leaders affiliated to Jubilee demanded that their Tiaty counterpart tame his ‘loose tongue’.

This was after the then embattled MP demanded that the DP compensate the Pokot community for their livestock that were allegedly killed by security officers before asking for their support in his quest for presidency.

Mr Kamket said more than 7,000 livestock from his constituency were killed during a security operation in Laikipia the previous year and their owners had not been compensated.

"If the Deputy President wants our votes in 2022, he may get them, but he must first compensate the Pokot community for their livestock that were killed by police in Laikipia and Tiaty last year,” he said. 

“Some of the shops were also torched in the Kositei, Nasorot and Chesitet areas. Without that, we have no business and we will not negotiate with him in his quest for the presidency in 2022.”

He said the operation was carried out by the Jubilee government with the aim of derailing the economy of the Pokot community.

Urged DP to resign

At one point, Mr Kamket urged the DP to resign for allegedly frustrating efforts to fight corruption.

He said Dr Ruto should resign if he was not pleased with how President Uhuru Kenyatta was fighting corruption, accusing him of defending those implicated in scandals.

This did not go down well with MCAs, who termed his sentiments insensitive and disrespectful. They accused the MP of being used by some influential people as a whistleblower to taint the image of the Deputy President.

Ruffled feathers FEATHERS

Leaders who were allied to Jubilee cautioned the MP to go slow on his attacks on the DP.

“Kamket has taken a particular direction of drumming up support for the Baringo Senator Moi, who is also his party chairman and that is his democratic right,” said Mr Cheptumo, then the Baringo North MP. 

“Some of us also support the DP but I just want to tell him that as much as we support some particular leaders, let us have some decorum and respect each other.”

“As the chairman of the Baringo County parliamentary caucus, I want to put it right that this county is a Jubilee stronghold and nobody has the moral authority to disrespect the DP,” he said.

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